ARMENIA: ICRC HELPS FAMILIES OF MISSING PERSONS RENOVATE THEIR HOUSES
Ashot Astabatsyan

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Date: 24 Feb 2011

Yerevan (ICRC) - Last month, the International Committee of the
Red Cross (ICRC) and the Fuller Centre for Housing Armenia, a local
non-governmental organization, launched a joint programme in Tavush
province, in north-eastern Armenia, aimed at helping the families
of persons who went missing in connection with the Nagorny Karabakh
conflict.

The families living in sub-standard housing are offered long-term,
interest-free payment-in-kind loans to repair and upgrade their
houses. In addition, they are provided with expert advice on
construction materials and technological options, and with guidance
in dealing with other practical matters once the renovation work is
under way.

"The fact that the families started rebuilding their houses in winter
proves that the programme we set up responds to a real need," said
Aslan Bzhikhatlov, an ICRC delegate supervising the programme.

"Families of the missing persons are a particularly disadvantaged
group. That is why we decided to do what we could to help them better
cope with the terrible uncertainty they face in their daily lives."

"This partnership is an opportunity for us to provide improved housing
for more families," said Ashot Yeghiazaryan, board director of the
Fuller Centre for Housing Armenia. "I am sure that as a result of
our cooperation with the ICRC many families will have better homes
in which to raise their kids."

For now, the programme is limited to Tavush, but the ICRC and the
Fuller Centre intend to extend it to other parts of the country during
the course of the year.

The ICRC has long supported the Armenian authorities in their efforts
to help the families of missing persons. It currently provides the
families with counselling and is working with a group of Armenian
experts who are drafting a law to protect the rights of missing
persons and their families.